updated 1/26/2011 12:47:24 PM ET 2011-01-26T17:47:24

  • Launched mid-ticket leasing business to finance essential-use equipment for mid-sized companies
     
  • Formed talented team of leasing industry veterans led by two seasoned executives
     
  • Completed new $75 million credit facility with four-year term to fund new lease origination
     
  • Part of strategy to continue building franchise of specialized commercial lending businesses
     
  • Expected to be accretive to earnings per share in 2011

BOSTON, Jan. 26, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NewStar Financial Inc. (Nasdaq:NEWS) announced today that it has formed a team of leasing industry veterans to launch a new equipment finance division of the company and closed a new $75 million credit facility with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association to provide funding for new lease origination. Wells Fargo Securities acted as deal agent. 

NewStar expects to provide an attractive equipment financing alternative for established mid-sized companies that have been hurt by a reduction in the availability of credit from banks and independent lessors sidelined by the credit crisis. The company plans to finance essential-use equipment for mid-sized businesses nationwide. NewStar Equipment Finance will offer traditional direct finance leases with various end-of-term options to fund the purchase of a wide range of equipment types, including manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and telecom equipment. Targeted transaction sizes will range from $500 thousand to $3 million and the company will offer lease lines to meet customers' needs for planned capital expenditures.  The business will focus on companies with annual sales of at least $25 million across a broad array of industries, including business services, healthcare, telecommunications, financial services, education, retail and manufacturing.

NewStar formed an accomplished equipment finance team led by leasing industry veterans, Steve O'Leary and Dave O'Keefe.   The team includes a network of seven independent sales agents with an average of 25 years of experience, led by O'Keefe. They will operate under an agreement with NewStar to directly originate new leases that meet the company's return objectives and credit standards. They will target equipment finance opportunities with our existing borrowers, as well as other portfolio companies owned by private equity firms in addition to an established base of existing customers.   Steve O'Leary, who will lead the equipment finance team, has more than 25 years of experience in the origination, underwriting, syndication and management of equipment finance lease and loan portfolios. He was formerly at Eastern Bank where he founded and managed their middle market leasing business and served on the bank's management council and credit committee. Prior to that, he held various positions with AT&T Capital, Fleet Capital Leasing and Shawmut Bank.    

"Our team is excited about the opportunity to launch a new leasing business as part of NewStar's national lending franchise," said O'Leary. "We look forward to contributing to the growth and diversification of the company as our veteran team of originators focuses on underserved segments of the marketplace."  

 "The launch of NewStar Equipment Finance is consistent with our strategy of building our franchise with specialized lending platforms that add to our value proposition for customers and leverage our core strengths in direct origination and credit management," said NewStar's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tim Conway. "This new platform also provides an attractive way to diversify our business mix and funding platform. We can now offer our middle market customers more financing options, including cash flow loans for acquisitions, asset-based loans for working capital, leases for equipment purchases and commercial mortgages to fund real estate."

"We are excited about launching this business with a team of industry veterans backed by dedicated funding from one of our primary relationship banks," said John Bray, NewStar's CFO. "With the structure and funding cost of our new credit facility, I believe that we are well-positioned to compete in this marketplace and drive attractive returns for our shareholders."

For more information about NewStar Equipment Finance, please visit www.newstarfin.com

About NewStar Financial, Inc.:

NewStar Financial (Nasdaq:NEWS) is a specialized commercial finance company focused on meeting the complex financing needs of companies and private investors in the middle market. The Company specializes in providing senior secured debt financing options to mid-sized companies to fund working capital, growth strategies, acquisition and recapitalization, as well as equipment purchases. NewStar originates loans and leases directly through a team of experienced, senior bankers and marketing officers organized around key industry and market segments. The Company targets 'hold' positions of up to $35 million and selectively underwrites or arranges larger transactions for syndication to other lenders. NewStar is headquartered in Boston MA and has regional offices in Darien CT, Chicago IL, Dallas TX, Houston TX, Los Angeles CA and Atlanta GA. For more detailed transaction and contact information, please visit our website at www.newstarfin.com. 

The NewStar Financial, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4044

Forward-Looking Statements:

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding NewStar's expected return and planned growth for the equipment finance business. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those results indicated in the forward-looking statements include uncertainties relating to future events that could affect NewStar Equipment Finance's credit performance and level of earning assets.

CONTACT: NewStar Financial, Inc.
         Robert K. Brown
         617.848.2558
         rbrown@newstarfin.com

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